Florida Child Care and Education Program
Legislation was passed in Florida that requires child care and education program directors to have a credential as part of the minimum licensing standard by January 1, 2004.
Child Care and Education Director Credentialing initiatives are rapidly developing across the country as a strategy for improving the quality of child care and education programs while addressing the professional development paths of program directors. Administering a child care program is a complex job requiring extensive skills and well-rounded knowledge in both child development and program administration. Directors and administrators of these programs are specialized professionals, providing a much needed service to their communities; therefore, the expectation that they be highly educated and credentialed is increasing.
Benefits of Credentialing
Who is required to have the Director Credential?
Every child care facility will be required to have a credentialed director by January 1, 2004. Additionally, every applicant for a license to operate a child care facility or a license for a change of ownership of a child care facility must document that the facility director has a Director Credential, prior to issuance of the license.
The title of the person who is required to have the Director Credential will vary depending on the program. For the purposes of the credential, the term "Director" represents a variety of titles used by child care and education programs to describe the role of the primary person responsible for the day-to-day operation, supervision and administration of the facility. This term director is used interchangeably with titles such as site supervisor, education coordinator, program administrator, operator and others. To be consistent with the statutory definition of child care operator, "director" refers to the on-site director or individual who has the primary responsibility for the day- to- day operation, supervision and administration of the child care facility.
Others may also seek the Director Credential. For example, the owner and the director of a program may both seek a credential. Teachers who desire to be a program director might also seek the credential. Family child care home providers may participate as well, however are not required by law to have a Director Credential. Please remember one person at each site will be required to have a Director Credential except as follows:
What Are the Requirements of the Director Credential?
The Director Credential is a comprehensive program consisting of educational and experiential requirements at two levels -- Foundational and Advanced. The requirements and courses that comprise these two levels are based on sound principles of child care and education program administration. Providing two levels for the Director Credential allows for several entry points into the credentialing process. Factors directors might consider in deciding which level to seek include previous educational experience, number of years in the field and whether or not they are seeking coursework for college credit.
What Are Approved Curriculum Areas for the Director Credential?
For courses to count toward the Director Credential requirement, they must be offered through an accredited post-secondary institution and approved by the Florida Director Credential Course Approval Committee. These institutions include vocational-technical schools, community colleges and public and private colleges and universities.
The Foundational level competency-based course requirement curriculum area includes:
This coursework requirement must be met in one of the following ways at this level:
The Advanced level competency-based course requirement curriculum areas include:
This coursework requirement must be met in the following way at this level:
Are there Exceptions to the Educational Component?
For the Foundational level credential, director's who have attained another state's approved Director's Credential may receive credit toward the "Overview of Child Care Management" educational component of the credential.
For the Advanced Level credential, directors who have attained certain educational levels or who have extensive experience in the field may receive credit toward the educational component of the credential. Educational exceptions, for the advanced level will be granted to individuals.
If you have AS degree in child care center management then No additional courses required
If you have AS, BA, BS or advanced degree in early childhood education/child development , family and consumer sciences (formerly home economics/child development), school-age child care or elementary education then you will need three college credit hours in child care management/administration OR business administration** OR educational administration.
If you BS, BA or advanced degree out of field OR five years or more of administrative experience in a licensed child care program (all coursework for this exception must have been completed within the last ten year) education then you will need three college credit hours in early childhood/child development OR school-age child care AND child care management/administration OR business administration** OR educational administration.
NOTE *The foundational level course, an overview of child care center
management, may be taken to satisfy the business/administration/management
requirement if taken for college credit
**Includes but is not limited to Statistics or Economics
Those who meet the educational exceptions will still be required to have a high school diploma or GED and must document completion of the Department of Children and Families Part I Introductory Training, the Special Needs training requirement, one of the following staff credentials: a Child Development Associate(CDA) Credential; a state-approved Florida CDA Equivalency; the Florida School-Age Certification; a formal education exemption(wavier); or a documented employment history recognition and the required years of experience.
Is There a Test that Can Be Taken Instead of the Coursework?
For the Advanced Level, candidates who meet the requirement for the educational exceptions (but do not have all the required coursework in early childhood education or administration) may choose to take a competency-based test to meet the three-credit hour course requirement in early childhood education/child development and/or the three-credit hour course requirement in administration.
Steps for Competency-based Test
What Happens if the Experiential Requirement Is Not Met?
Candidates who have met all of the educational requirements of either Director Credential level, however, have not completed the experiential requirement will be granted a temporary Director Credential. At the time the experience requirement has been met, candidates may apply for official credential
Must the Director Credential Be Renewed?
To maintain a valid Director Credential at either level, every five years candidates must provide documentation of 4.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or one three-hour college credit course in any one of the curriculum areas and professional contributions to the field. A complete list of professional contributions may be found in section 65C-22(7)(g) of the Florida Administrative Code .
Coursework completed to renew a state of Florida Teaching Certificate may also be used to satisfy the coursework requirement for renewal of a Director Credential. A Director Credential, (including a temporary Director Credential) issued prior to January 1, 2004, will have an initial renewal date of January 1, 2009 and every 5 years thereafter.
How Does a Director Apply for the Director Credential?
On behalf of the Department of Children and Families, the Florida Children's Forum in Tallahassee will verify documentation, process all applications and issue the Director Credential.
Steps To Apply for A Director Credential: